What’s the Point If It’s Your Own Home Causing You Harm (Formaldehyde Emission)?

What's the Point If It's Your Own Home Causing You Harm (Formaldehyde Emission)?Why fighting against formaldehyde is crucial and there is only one solution around it.

“Long-term exposure to formaldehyde may contribute to cognitive impairment in older age, according to a recent study out of France.”

“Formaldehyde has been deemed as a probable human carcinogen by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)”

​​”re cases, formaldehyde can trigger symptoms for those with asthma, and some may experience difficulty breathing or wheezing.”

How often have you heard these sentences being used, or worse, having experienced any of them? Aren’t you tired of a thought like that haunting you through the day? But what exactly is formaldehyde and why should we bother? It exists everywhere at all times, right? However, the answer is not so simple.

Formaldehyde plywoodUsually detected by the foul scent or odor, which is very common in premises after home renovation. Therefore, it applies to both residential and commercial units, where most of us spend most of our time.

Formaldehyde is a chemical compound widely used in building materials, paints, adhesives, furniture, fabrics, and even cosmetics.

One of its most common one that hits closest to home for designers, is in composite or pressed woods such as fibreboards, blockboard and plywood. Most commonly in the form of urea-formaldehyde resin, that is found within adhesives used to join wood.

Formaldehyde was first introduced for this purpose in the 1950s, but its usage has been regulated since then due to the negative impact on human health.

The best way to breathe pure air, is to air your home out. Good cross ventilation has proven to be effective in off gassing, however, the issue arises in this day and age, where in people spend more and more time indoors and are exposed to influences as a result of modern lifestyles and settings, new materials and construction methods.

To think about it, in a modern nuclear family of everyday, the children go to school and the parents are in office for the majority of the day, leaving their home locked behind them, the windows and doors remain shut which causes the formaldehyde to be trapped indoors. The home is usually aired out for some time, till its lights out and all the doors and windows are shut once again.

The ventilation remains minimal, and most Singaporeans end up spending most of their time within air-conditioned spaces, also considering the hot and humid Singaporean weather. In these conditions, off gassing of your home remains high as well, hence leading to further and more prolonged exposure to formaldehyde.

This effect is compounded over time and leads to higher risks of allergies and other symptoms (e.g. coughing, chest pain and shortness of breath). Left untreated, these seemingly “trivial” issues can worsen over time.

formaldehyde at homeUnfortunately, formaldehyde is found in nearly every home — and the products inside.

​While you may not be able to eliminate your exposure completely, there are some ways you can mitigate the risk and keep yourself and your family healthy at home.

​Awareness of the same has boomed an industry which specializes in the removal of formaldehyde in home, there are a range of Dyson products available in the market, apart from that, now there are even service providers who come and spray your home.

formaldehyde removal servicesSome turn to formaldehyde removal services to reduce the formaldehyde levels in their home but it does not solve the root issue – especially when the source of formaldehyde involves raw materials used to build the interiors of the house, in such a scenario, the spray is bound to wear off and the formaldehyde which exists in the core of your furniture is bound to be emitted once again, after a certain period of time. ​

The toxic emissions in this case are inevitable, directing all the money spent on the service to nowhere but the drain, since all the emissions were only supressed for a time being, and not tackled with at its root cause.  ​​

Wouldn’t it be better to not stress over the formaldehyde issue and having to spend considerable amount of time, money and energy just trying to tackle the emissions rather than using consciously made built-in furniture which emits least amount of formaldehyde in the place?

The concentration of formaldehyde in many products has been regulated by the USA, China, Japan and, most strictly of all, the European Union. However, there have been no such progressions here in Singapore. Although Singaporean are equally health conscious and precocious, if not more.

Hence, at Ecubespace, we aim to minimise the negative impacts as much as possible by firstly being aware of the importance of indoor air quality, as buildings are becoming more insulated and draught-free.

This is the reason why we work hand in hand with EGGER, ours wood-based materials supplier, as they intensively test the emissions of their boards and have them measured by independent institutes.

Feeling comfortable and safe in your own must not be a privilege, and that is the aim we work towards.

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